China’s box office has passed the $6.24bn (RMB40bn) benchmark, an increase of more than 48% compared to the same period last year, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Domestic films grossed $3.7bn (RMB23.7bn) over the period January 1 to December 4, 2015, accounting for a market share of 59%. As several big-budget Chinese movies are scheduled to open over the next month, it will be difficult for foreign imports to claw back market share.

Major local hits in 2015 include Monster Hunt with $383m, Lost In Hong Kong with $254m and Goodbye Mr Loser with $227m. The biggest import, Fast & Furious 7, grossed $381m in April, while Avengers: Age Of Ultron took $230m in May and Jurassic World grossed $223m in June.

In comparison, box office in the US and Canada hit around $10.4bn in 2014, according to the Motion Picture Association, which means that China is on course to overtake the North America market in the next three years.

Xinhua also reported that there are now around 6,200 cinemas with more than 30,000 screens across China. An estimated 15 new screens are opening every day.

Earlier statistics from the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) showed that China’s 2015 box office sales exceeded the 2014 total of $4.6bn (RMB29.6bn) in early September.